Monday, November 30, 2015

Yea Lord, Thou Knowest That I Love Thee

First things first, here's last weeks letter! I had it all written up and was planning to send it as soon as we had some wifi, but couldn't get to any wifi until after 6, which is the cutoff for when we're supposed to email home. I'll send today's a little later!

The weeks really seem to fly by!  I know I might seem like a broken record, but it really is crazy to think that I left practically in the middle of summer, and now it's the holidays!

I've been studying in the book of James a lot lately.  It's a really cool book, that although short, has tons of things that are easily applicable to everyday life!  "Be slow to anger," "Bridle your tongue and the body will follow,"  and all sorts of other gems that are still very much applicable in everyday life even thought it was written  so long ago.

I've had some requests to give more details on the actual teaching that we've been doing, so I'll do my best to recount more of it in the future!  As you might see in the Q&A, there wasn't as much teaching as we had planned on this week, but I think my favorite lesson actually took place while I was outside of my area on exchanges with Elder Van Slyke.  We were teaching a guy named Fransisco, who they had been trying to get ahold of for quite a while, and we were finally able to catch him at home.  He started off the lesson by saying that he had had sort of a change of heart, and neither he or his wife were interested in us teaching them anymore, but since we had gone to all the trouble of trying to meet him for so long, we could sit down and talk with him and his wife for a few minutes.  That few minutes tuned into about 45.  Elder Van Slyke and I had felt impressed that we needed to share a message about eternal families with him, and after talking about the concept for a little while, he shared some very personal experiences about the fact that he had lost one of his sons several years ago when the son was very young.  Elder Van Slyke and I shared the principles of eternal families and the fact that he would be able to see his son again.  Elder Van Slyke also shared a story about a younger brother of his that had passed away a number of years ago, which I hadn't known about, and then we both bore testimony of the plan of salvation.  Throughout the lesson, you could literally see a light come into his eyes and see his countenance change.  At the end of this lesson that had started out with his decision to no longer meet with us, he told us that he would like to have us come back and tell them more about eternal families.  Maybe it's just my overdramatic memory, but I think I saw tears in his eyes once or twice during the lesson.

Since we’ve had a lot of cancellations lately, I had the thought that even though you think of Paul as a very successful missionary (which he was) when you think about how many chapters are written about his ministry compared with how many years he spent proselyting, there's a lot of dead space. I'm sure that even Paul had some bad days where no one wanted to listen and it felt like he didn't accomplish much. 

I've been struggling a lot with missing some things from home this last week. I was reminded of John chapter 21. Christ asks Peter, "lovest thou me more than all this?" My "this" may be a little different than Peter wanting to go fishing, but the call is the same. Feed my sheep. I've been called to serve for 2 years, and I owe it to him to do it, because my answer, like Peter's is that, "Yea Lord, thou knowest that I love thee."

Love,Elder Excell

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